If you belong to a marketing team or a creative agency, you have probably experienced being overwhelmed with issues from working with third-party vendors and suppliers. Approving marketing initiatives, managing tight budgets and keeping everyone’s work in line with the brief can all be very stressful, leaving you feeling like you’re just not in control.
At StraightArrow, we have developed a process to make it easy for the right clients to work with us. We have tweaked this process over the years and review it regularly. Our “Proven Process”, as we call it, visualizes every client’s journey with us and enables us to clarify, document, and meet expectations over the long term. The biggest benefit of following this process is the natural progression of our business relationships from transaction-based engagements to strategic partnerships.
What is our Proven Process?
Our Proven Process is a 5-step approach to building workflows that connect with our clients’ workflows seamlessly. Each step builds on the step before, allowing for better collaboration along the way. Each step has its own objectives which we need to meet before we take the next step with our clients.
Eliminating the ‘Lost in Translation’ issue
Step 1: DISCUSS
Successful business relationships are founded on trust. The stronger the trust in a relationship, the more successful a relationship can be.
To build a foundation of trust, the first step we take is to get to know our clients and in the same token, give them the opportunity to get to know us. We call this step “Discuss”.
The objective of this step is to exchange enough information to make both our clients and ourselves comfortable that we fit into each other’s businesses. We ask questions to get a good understanding of our clients’ big picture and immediate issues. We share case studies to show what’s possible while setting realistic expectations. If we agree that we seem like a good fit, we move on to the next step.
Step 2: TEST
Putting words into action
One common problem in business process outsourcing is wasted energy: spending so much time collaborating with an outsourced services provider and receiving output that falls short of expectations — or worse, one that is not at all what was expected.
In Step 2 of our Proven Process, we test the theory that we can work together and add value to each other’s businesses by completing a pilot project. Pilot projects take the form of blogs, marketing workflows, keyword research, logo design and similar projects that are typically completed within two weeks or less. These projects allow us to simulate a Business-As-Usual (BAU) environment - from briefing to execution to fulfillment, billing and collection - giving us the opportunity to spot and document potential roadblocks and choke points in our collaborative workflows, and solve these issues before we enter into a longer term agreement.
We believe that transparency and accountability are key to lasting business relationships. If after our best effort in this step and our clients are not satisfied with the results, we refund any deposits in return for honest, constructive feedback.
Step 3: CREATE FOR THE WORLD
Establishing a strategic, synergistic relationship
StraightArrow’s mission is to create for the world - to help our clients all over the world execute projects that make the world a better place. Successfully completing pilot projects allows us to move forward and determine the best way to integrate into our clients’ workflows, beginning with simple processes that free up our clients time. On average, it takes about 3 months after the test phase for us to identify the right creatives, fine-tune processes and get into a normal operating rhythm with our clients - functioning as the creative muscle for their teams. This first 90 days is crucial and we invest the time to define our engagement with set goals, success metrics, scorecards, SOPs and meeting schedules, making sure expectations are set and everyone is on the same page.
Steps 4 & 5: QUARTERLY BUSINESS REVIEWS + ANNUAL JOINT PLANNINGGrowing in partnership
Finally, our Proven Process goes into a growth cycle where - outside of daily operations - we meet with clients every quarter for business reviews (QBR), and once a year for annual joint planning (AJP) sessions. The focus of the QBRs is to recalibrate, determine what’s working and not working, set priorities for the next quarter and solve key issues. On the other hand, AJPs are focused on understanding clients’ plans for the year so we can adjust to provide optimum support. QBRs and AJPs keep us strategically aligned with clients, providing them with relevant, flexible support.
If you want to learn how StraightArrow’s Proven Process can benefit your business, schedule a consultation with us today.